Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Into Battle

I went to a conference this weekend called "She Speaks" put on by Proverbs 31 ministries. It was an amazing time with 650 women and great speakers! I tried to quiet myself best I could all weekend to hear what God wanted to say to me. Speaker after speaker, meeting amazing woman after amazing woman. We were encouraged to write our story, tell our story, point it all to Jesus, develop our passions, minister to others, etc. The conference was on how to launch your writing into a platform, how to steward the message God has given you, and how to best share it with others.
I kept hearing.... Wait.


Ok, God? I will I guess. I'm  not sure what I am waiting on or waiting for, but I will wait.

I'm bad at waiting. I want to do what I need to do now or at least be getting prepared for what I'm waiting for. You could see that in how I have "nested" here at home, waiting on the kids' arrival.

The second night, I heard it again. Wait.  But this time it was accompanied by...

"We are about to go into battle".

Wow, not really the take away I was hoping for. But one I have been praying about over the last year or so.  As we have journeyed closer to the life God has called us to instead of the one we would have chosen selfishly, I have experienced spiritual warfare. It's been in our marriage, in my parenting, and in our extended family.  But this one is a little closer to home.

We are going into battle for these children.  Satan wants nothing else but these orphans to stay orphans, in an orphanage that only meets maybe 2 basic needs for food and shelter....if that. Satan does not want these kids coming into a home that proclaims Jesus as our Savior, that talks about him daily, parents that do their best to meet the emotion needs of our kids, and shine our light to others. No.  There will be a battle.

I don't know what it will look like. I don't know if the battle will come in attachment for the kids, behavior issues of Levi, Maran, Reese or Wheeler, sleepless nights, spiritual attack, health, who knows. But I know it will come. I've tried to prepare myself best I can with scripture, reading books about attachment, prayer, etc.  That is all I can do.

Then, Sunday morning of the conference came and wouldn't you know the final talk was on spiritual warfare and how to get ready for battle. Thank you God.

Here are some of my highlights:

  • To enjoy God's favor we must often endure Satan's fury. Be prepared.
  • The catalyst for Jesus' temptation in the desert was Spirit led.  Being full of the spirit doesn't protect us from temptation.  We may be led by the spirit into temptations that will test our faith. 
  • The context for Jesus' temptation was his Holy experience.  He had just come off of being filled by the spirit and had his value and identity spoken over him by the father. 
  • The content of Jesus' temptation was to be tempted in the area of
    • Provision- we have a tendency to want to provide for ourselves on God's behalf.
    • Protection- we take our protection back into our own control so we think.
    • Pride or Position
  • Battle is imminent so get ready for it
    • belt of truth (scripture), breastplate of righteousness (rest in Jesus righteousness), feet covered with gospel of peace, shield of faith (confidence, security in him, calling, rest in it all. you have to pick up the shield and put it over you in battle. If you can't you need to find people to come around you to hold their shields over you), Helmet of salvation (God will accomplish results no matter what we do), Sword of the spirit.
  • Sword of the spirit
    • We are called to take it up, not swing it. God wants us dressed and protected for battle but you in your own strength don't have to fight. God will.  You will stand in the middle of battle, dressed and ready so you don't feel naked, but God will fight for you. You only have to be prepared, trust, and focus on him.
    • Exodus 14:14- I will fight for you, you only need to be still.
    • Your IT is not worth it, I am. 
Wow, I was holding back tears the whole talk. If we were only adopting just to adopt. It would not be "worth it", but God has called us. Our "adoption" is not worth it, He is. There will be days where I want to give up, crawl in a hole, think I can't make it, but He can and He is worth it. I will be tempted to provide for myself and kids, I will be tempted to draw protection back into my own hands and it will bring fear and worry, but God has called me to trust in him and let him the the Lord of provision and protection, and only boast in Him on the other side of the battle. I am going to try to spend the next few months getting ready for battle. We could use your prayers. We have been praying for over  ayear now even for details such as attachment, sleep, the preparation of Levi and Maran's hearts, for God to pierce through the darkness they've experienced and bring light and healing, to put a shield around them and protect their minds and hearts, for wisdom, discernment, and more wisdom as we parent all of our children through this transition, for Reese and Wheeler's hearts and understanding as we walk through this as a family, for our marriage that we would lean on and encourage each other and not pit against one another.
Please join us in prayer over the next few months and beyond. Thanks for being part of the journey with us and helping put your shield over us.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Open Handed

This whole adoption process has taught me more about holding things, money, blessings, and most importantly relationships with an open hand.
We received a document the other day saying we had passed court and our children had legally taken our last names as their own. I cannot tell you the feeling of looking down at a sheet of paper totally in french but see my husbands and my names and then see our children's names, whom we have never met, with our last name attached. After their new name is written out it says in french "You have made justice" or "You have done justice". Those words hit me so powerfully.
I automatically thought of Jesus on the cross. I thought of what he had to go through to make my identity change and adoption final. I think of him looking at his father saying, you can't condemn her, Justice has been done on the cross. I no longer stand condemned because my name has been changed, I have a new family and new identity, and justice has been done and can't be undone on my behalf. What a beautiful picture.
John and I have not "done justice" by adopting these two children. Jesus has. Jesus is the one who called, who asked. We merely responded with a tiny yes and walked forward. God has redeemed his children, God has defended the fatherless, God has done justice for the oppressed. Praise Jesus I got to stand on the sidelines at watch.
Now that we have our "final judgement of adoption" we begin a 30 day waiting period. This is the final time any birth family members may step forward for the children. We will not have full parental rights until August 3 when we receive a document called a CONA- certificate of non appeal saying these children are legally ours and cannot be taken from us. Wow. First we see our name attached to these two little ones. Then we have to again hold them with an open hand.
 Letting God do what only he can do. He can give or take away. I have prayed every day that God would continue to write the story he wants with these two little lives and our four here. My heart is first for orphan prevention, but in response to trauma, I feel like adoption is then the answer. I would be absolutely beyond crushed and devastated if a family member stepped forward. I would be thankful they would be reunited with their birth family, but selfishly at a loss of the children we hoped and prayed for. But God is teaching me to trust, to lean in, to depend, to believe He has a better story than I think I could write for myself. My prayers have been strengthened, our relationship has become more intimate, our conversations have become more desperate and real.
It is truly like being put to the fire as he refines me, strips away selfishness, takes myself off the throne I put me on. I am slowly learning to hold all I have been given with an open hand. My trust and love for the Lord is not dependent on the blessings he gives me or what gets taken from my life. My trust and love is for the savior that hung on a cross for me and when he was dying, he called out "it is finished".
He has done justice.
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